The Secret to Employee Retention: Mentoring

Master the art of employee retention through impactful mentoring. Cultivate engagement and loyalty with proven strategies.

The cost of recruiting and training new employees is substantial. Retaining top talent through meaningful work, opportunities for advancement, and a positive work environment is not just a goal, but a necessity." - Mary Barra, Chairperson and CEO of General Motors.

Companies are under extreme stress. The cost of living has drastically increased. Heavy employee turnover rates and an uncertain economy create a minefield for HR to navigate, making retention more vital than ever.

Heavy turnover depresses productivity, hurts company culture, lowers morale, and makes attracting top talent arduous. Turnover is also costly. The price tag for rapid employee churn can be 90% to 200% of an employee’s salary. The cost might not show up in a profit and loss statement, but the financial cost can be staggering. Add up the costs of recruiting replacement talent, training new employees, and lost knowledge, and it makes sense why retention is an essential part of any company’s success.

Employee retention is greatly influenced by the industry and fluctuations in the job market. But these are factors that companies can’t always influence. To improve retention rates, companies need to hone in on sectors they can control. A company’s most valuable retention tool is its long-term and successful employees. Use these people as mentors to bolster retention rates.

Companies need to reshape these two key areas and weave mentoring programs into them.

The Hiring Process

The old trite adage “people don’t quit jobs, they quit managers” is true. It’s also true that people often start to think about quitting before they even meet their managers.

Recruiters have a huge impact on whether or not someone sticks with a job. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and recruiters are usually the first point of contact. Take the time to make sure the steps of attracting talent, hiring, and onboarding are smooth. Have a trusted HR representative walk through the entire cycle of being hired as if they were a new employee just starting out. They will be able to spot potential pitfalls and correct them before they turn new talent away.

According to research by the Human Capital Institute, 20% of new hires resign within the first 45 days. One of the top reasons: “unmet expectations created during the recruitment phase.” A rapid turnover rate, with new hires jumping ship early on, can confuse team members, causing them to question if life is better somewhere else. Mentoring is a sure-fire way to improve the onboarding process from the start.

New employees who are matched with a mentor within the first few days of starting a job feel cared for. Not all managers are born equal. Some are softer, while others are more production-oriented. Regardless of how good a manager is or their managing style, a manager doesn’t always have the time to sit down one on one with new employees. Managers are often overworked, under deadline, and generally focused on finishing things. It isn’t always appropriate for a manager to interview new hires about career goals, upskilling, or career development.

Managers drive employees to produce. Mentors foster employees to be better people. Both roles are vital. Attaching a mentor to new hires can drastically increase retention rates as it instantly connects them on a personal level to the company.

Company Culture

"Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to." - Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group.

Multitudes of polls and studies show that the “corporate environment” ranks as a top factor in employee retention. Toxic company culture can exponentially increase attrition rates. Salary boosts constantly pull employees to new jobs, and sometimes there isn’t much employers can do about this. Coupling better pay elsewhere while an employee experiences a toxic culture in his current position and the odds of retaining him essentially plummet to zero.

When company culture is strong, employees are engaged at work. Their best friends are their colleagues. Strong company culture pushes a mission statement that resonates with employees so they never “quiet quit” or become clock punchers.

Employees that connect with company culture on a personal level go the extra mile to turn out good work. They become walking billboards for attracting new talent to company ranks.

Who understands company culture better than anyone? Employees who have been through thick and thin with the company. These employees, when given mentorship roles, can foster company culture with younger employees.

When mentoring relationships are spread throughout a company, human connections are made which break down traditional silos. Career development, idea exchange, and networking all take on new meaning, pushing company culture to unrealized heights.

Build a strong company culture that not only retains talent but attracts it.


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